Tag Archives: Hugh Jackman

Andrew’s Most Anticipated Films of 2014

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With the year in film that was 2013 now a thing of the past (my top ten and year-end awards are coming soon), it’s now time to look ahead to those films set for release over the course of the next twelve months. While a few of my most anticipated films from 2013 will show up here after being pushed back, there will also be many other films to highly anticipate, which include new efforts from some of Hollywood’s most sought-after auteurs. Although it’s safe to say the process of getting down to just ten films was difficult, these are without question the films I am most anticipating in the coming months. Here’s hoping, when all is said and done, that 2014 is even half as good as 2013 was to us film enthusiasts.

Note: I have not included those 2014 releases I was fortunate enough to catch early at this past year’s Toronto International Film Festival. So no JoeUnder the Skin or The Sacrament to be found here.

Honorable Mentions: Ryan Gosling’s How to Catch a Monster, Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young, Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla, David Ayer’s Fury, Phil Lord & Chris Miller’s 22 Jump Street, Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-man 2, Richard Ayoade’s The Double, Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy, David Gordon Green’s Manglehorn 

Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel

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If shown a single frame from any one of his films, you’d probably instantly recognize the signature of its author, Wes Anderson. The Grand Budapest Hotel, his follow-up to 2012’s Moonrise Kingdom, is Anderson’s eighth feature-length outing as a director and once again sports an incredible ensemble cast featuring many of the usual suspects. Bill Murray, Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman are all there, supported by Anderson newcomers that include Jude Law, Saoirse Ronan and Ralph Fiennes. Fiennes plays Gustave H, a hotel concierge who becomes friends with a lobby boy, albeit while the theft of a priceless Renaissance painting sets chaotic events into motion. Using various aspect ratios and a truly Andersonian color palette, here’s hoping the overt quirkiness of the concept leaves enough room for the characters to breathe. I’ve been impressed with Anderson’s ability to really bring some really powerful human emotion to his last few films, so here’s hoping he brings more to The Grand Budapest Hotel. It hits theaters March 7th.

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The Academy & I: 2008

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After the exceptional year in film that was 2007, to see a fall-off in the quality of motion pictures the following year wasn’t all that unexpected. While 2008 certainly had its fair share of great films, you’d be hard-pressed to find many that were fairly represented at the following year’s Oscar ceremony. What the Academy did give us that year, however, was the last truly great Oscar host in Hugh Jackman. He took what is often-times an incredibly lackluster show and made it quite simply, great entertainment. It was, however, magic that we unfortunately haven’t seen in the ceremonies since. 2008 would also mark a notable shift in the Academy’s nomination process, as it would be the last year in which they would only get to nominate five films for Best Picture, but more on that in the next entry.

2008 was a year in which the Academy chose to frustrate my inner-cinephile like no other. Sure, there were many nominees and winners who were very deserving, but there were just as many head-scratching nominees and victors who would have been left out in the cold in any other year. It was a year that heralded the comeback of a once great screen actor, but also saw the loss of one of the industry’s most promising young thespians. It was a year that saw The Dark Knight take the critics and box office by storm, only to be shunned in most of the major categories by Hollywood’s greatest institution.

As I take a look back on the year in film that was 2008, I will delve into those films that I personally felt best represented the year, as opposed to those that were actually represented come Oscar night.

Best Cinematography

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2008, for all intensive purposes, was the year of Slumdog Millionaire. One of the film’s many wins on Oscar night was for the bright color-infused work by cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle. Known for his collaborations with not only Slumdog helmer Danny Boyle, but the crazy Dane himself Lars von Trier, there is no doubt Dod Mantle does solid work here, but it’s certainly not a career-best. Other nominees in the category included Wally Pfister’s work in The Dark Knight as well as that of Claudio Miranda in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. While my thoughts on the film itself may not exactly match up with my declaration here, there is no doubt Miranda’s work with David Fincher on Button is exceptional. It’s interesting to note then that Miranda’s nomination was the first ever awarded by the Academy to a film shot entirely digitally. Although I am very much on the side of film stock when it comes to the raging cinematography debate, Fincher’s films continue to be the best example of digital cinematography, highlighted by Miranda’s work here. He would go on to win the Oscar for lensing Life of Pi just this past year, but it’s safe to say it doesn’t top his timeless work on Button.

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Andrew’s Journey Through TIFF 2013: Episode III

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The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the first stops on the journey through film awards season. This year, Andrew was fortunate enough to be in attendance and is now recapping the films and events he attended while at TIFF.

TIFF Day 6

With bright and early screenings now a thing of the past for my festival experience, I had the great pleasure of sleeping in on this day. I dreamed of what might occur if I was to meet my idol who just so happened to be the star of the next film on my docket.

David Gordon Green’s Joe

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Nicolas Cage. What else needs to be said? Some love him and some hate him, but the haters always seem to forget that not only does he have an Academy Award bearing his name, but when on he remains one of the most talented actors in the biz. Now I get it, his recent string of endless sub-par action films leaves a lot to be desired, but every once in awhile he chooses a role that truly lets his artistry shine. Thankfully, Joe just so happens to be the latest. Playing the titular ex-con with an underlying mean streak, Cage gives a nuanced and (for the most part) subdued performance. Youngster Tye Sheridan is every bit his equal as Gary, a kid new in town who is looking for work and who Joe takes under his wing. Gary’s father (Gary Poulter) is abusive and is constantly taking money from Gary to fuel his rampant alcoholism. Under the helm of David Gordon Green, who has already released one great film this year in Prince Avalanche, the film is visually stunning with his signature brand of cinematography. While the film loses its focus at times and certainly has its fair share of disturbing moments, Green and his actors make sure to ground the film in a dark reality that seems true to life in this small Texas town. Whether you love him or you hate him it’s hard to argue that this isn’t another great Cage performance, and while us fans would certainly love for him to keep choosing these interesting off the beaten path roles, somebody’s gotta pay those taxes. Long live The Cage.

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